The Atlanta Braves are one of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball. They rank #10 on the list of most World Series appearances with a total of 9. Nine, you might ask? Why I’m a loyal, lifelong, die-hard Braves fan and I only remember 5 appearances by Atlanta, you might say.
Well the fact of the matter is that the Braves are also the most mobile franchise in American professional baseball history. Despite the uproar over the recent announcement that the Atlanta Braves are moving to a new Cobb County, Georgia location by the start of the 2017 season, in the past the Braves have also called Boston and Milwaukee home. Yet this move within the same Metropolitan area is somewhat unprecedented. The shift in location is seemingly based solely on matters of branding, positioning and responsiveness to their target audience.
On November 11th, John Schuerholz the General Manager of the club announced that “We are extremely excited that our address will still be Atlanta and so will the name across our jersey.” Despite this assurance that the team was not abandoning their allegiance to the name “Atlanta”, residents of the city proper – Atlanta, they regarded the team’s announced move as an alienation of affections. The team’s diverse fan-base of Black and White, affluent and working class and urban and suburban devotees had supported the team through more years of thin than thick. Now it seems that the only loyalty the team is being responsive to is the opportunity to move to "greener pastures".
Schuerholz would go on to say in his video statement that "We wanted to find a location that is great for our fans, makes getting to and from the stadium much easier, and provides a first-rate game day experience in and around the stadium." These words left many people who felt that they were Braves fans scratching their heads. Well the fact of the matter is that what Mr. Schuerholz really meant was Target Audience – not fans. Yet in the GM’s short statement, he captured all of the elements that should go into the hard realities of understanding your Target Audience.
As evidenced by the above map of the Braves' 2012 season ticket purchasers, the heaviest concentration of paying fans live much closer to the proposed new stadium location than to the current one. The team further elucidates the question of access and location on their transition website http://homeofthebraves.com/overview They state that “The reason for moving is simple…. our fans, access to Turner Field. There is a lack of consistent mass transportation, a lack of sufficient parking and a lack of direct access to interstates”. Simply put, a business should try their best to be easily accessible to their target customer.
Ability to Pay
The aforementioned statement by the team mentions providing a first-rate game day experience as another reason for the move. The alternative translation is not based on what the audience demands, but based on what else can the team supply to a wealthier customer. According to Wikipedia, as of 2007, the median income was $70,472 in Cobb County compared to $45,171 in the City of Atlanta in 2010. By having better access to a more affluent fan-base, the team will be able to open up new profitable revenue streams, such as dining, merchandising and other ancillary income opportunities.
Psychographic Targeting is a fancy way of saying that you need to know what your customers like. One essential but touchy aspect of the Braves decision to move is that the game of baseball is not as attractive to non-White inner city residents as it used to be. In recent years initiatives have been taken to revive Black youths interest in the game. Nevertheless, interest in "America's Favorite Pastime" and the target audience’s connection to the team better reflects the demographics of Cobb County.
As emotionally and economically disruptive as the Atlanta Braves decision to move the team to Cobb County may be for the City of Atlanta, as a business decision it is pretty sound. In your efforts to determine, understand and respond to the needs of your target audience, it would be wise to regard the same criteria as this beloved successful franchise. Access to your target customer, their ability to pay and their psychographic characteristics are inescapable considerations. Hopefully, the City of Atlanta will create new opportunities out of this situation, the Braves will find success in Cobb County and you will master the process of understanding your target audience as a means to building a major league brand.
Whether you are choosing a first career or changing careers, you need a career plan. After carefully assessing your Skills and Talentsand defining your Unique Selling Proposition, you should now be ready to identify the industry and specific occupations that you are interested in. Finding the best career opportunity is the ultimate goal of your career plan. Personal development and goal setting experts have determined that the best way to achieve any goal is to be S.M.A.R.T.about it.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym for a goal achievement process that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. The concept is derived from the pioneering work of management guru Peter Drucker. The idea is founded upon the belief that goals are more likely to be achieved if they are precisely defined. Rather than saying I’m going to buy a new car, an example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal would be I am going to buy a 2014 Lexus LS Hybrid for less than $120,000 by December 3rd 2014.
This goal of buying the Lexus is specific because it identifies an exact year, make and model of car. We can measure whether the goal is attained by whether I am able to acquire the vehicle below the specified price. By setting an exact date, I am challenging myself to follow the necessary plan that is required to achieve the goal. Yet when it comes to your career plan, there are a few additional considerations.
There may be some preliminary steps that you need to take on the road to obtaining your ultimate job. You might have to earn your Bachelor’s degree first and start out as a kindergarten teacher’s aide on the path to becoming a college professor. Nevertheless, you should seek to identify your ultimate career ambition rather than a short-term job objective. The various jobs and educational pursuits that lead to your ultimate goal should be considered as rungs on the ladder to ultimate career success.
Attaining the position that you seek is not the only measurement of successfully reaching your career goal. While formulating your plan, you might consider the salary, work hours, and location of your ideal job. However, you should also think about less tangible aspects of a career such as stress level, professional integrity, and work-life balance. You should measure success by the overall satisfaction that you derive from your career, not just how much money you make.
We are all at different stages in our lives and possess different competencies and capabilities. If you have properly researched your career alternatives, you should discover the industry and positions for which you are best suited. However, it may be difficult to resist the tendency to pursue a career for the wrong reasons. Pursuing a career that is not best suited to your personality, age, education, or ability is inadvisable.
If you have carefully researched you career alternatives, hopefully your search has led you towards pursuing a career in a thriving industry. This may not always be possible given your educational attainment and transferable skills. As the economic landscape changes it is best to be involved in an industry where career prospects are growing. If you are not currently well suited to a viable industry, it might be worth the investment to pursue continuing education or internship opportunities that prepare you to make a career change.
As stated earlier, setting a specific date forces you to follow the steps that are necessary to achieve your goal. The tendency to take some shortcuts should be avoided at all cost. However, while on the long road to becoming a doctor, you may find that you are better suited to be a Pharmacist. Nevertheless, if you find that you are indeed on the right career path, you should be committed to investing whatever time that it takes to reach your ultimate goal.
Now that you are on the S.M.A.R.T. road to achieving your career goals, you should make an immediate commitment to becoming even S.M.A.R.T.E.R. You must consistently Evaluate your plan to determinate if your career goal is still valid and viable. Then you must Review your plan regularly to make sure that you are always focused and on the right track.
Developing a S.M.A.R.T. career plan might sound like a lot of work. Yet without one, your career search might become aimless and stagnant. Taking the time to create Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound career goals may be the difference between becoming stuck in a dead end job or flourishing in a satisfying career. To insure that you stick to your plan, you must also commit to becoming even S.M.A.R.T.E.R by regularly Evaluating and Reviewing your plan.
Suppose that you were a novice investor, presented with two options for learning to understand the ins and outs of navigating the markets. The first option would be attending regularly scheduled face-to-face meetings with legendary investor Warren Buffet. The other choice presented to you is attending weekly group discussions between beginning, intermediate and experienced investors. Which alternative would you choose?
Warren Buffet is arguably the most successful investor in history. Most up-and-coming investors would probably consider regular interaction with him to be the ultimate choice. However, because of the resources that Mr. Buffet has at his disposal, his risk and reward decisions are based on buying thousands of shares of a stock. The deals that he might suggest to you may prove to be impractical if you can only buy just a few shares.
Conversely, the weekly meetings with a wide range of investors might provide you with exposure to variety of useful information. However, if you have recently inherited millions of dollars and just happen to have an MBA in Finance, you may benefit more from the weekly buffet with Buffet. A combination of both close intimate personal and dynamic group interactions might be the preferable way to obtain the career guidance you seek. Therefore, it is important that you understand how to choose the right trusted Mentor and/or how to join or form an effective Mastermind Group
Defining Mentors and Mastermind Groups
The term Mentor is of ancient origins. Mentor is a figure from Greek mythology who during the Trojan War was the advisor of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus. The modern mentor/mentee relationship can be formal or informal. The fundamental characteristic of the relationship is that a more experienced or knowledgeable person (Mentor) provides some form of guidance to another person (Mentee).
A Mastermind Group is a more recent conception. The idea derives from a term introduced by Napoleon Hill in the classic self-development book “Think and Grow Rich”. However, such advisory council type relationships have existed as long as human beings have formed organizations. Hill defined a Mastermind Group as follows: "The coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony."
The concept of the Mastermind Group had been out of fashion for a time. Yet with the advent of other collaborative business and professional tools such as Social Networking, Coworking, and Crowdfundingthe use of collaborative tools and resources are now all the rage. Conversely, until lately the Mentor concept has been in vogue. Yet in recent years the mentoring model and the associated expectations of such relationships are now being regarded by some as outdated and unrealistic.
Finding a Mentor or a Mastermind Group.
As stated earlier, I don’t think the choice is really an either or proposition. Mentoring relationships are valuable and successful ones are priceless. Mentoring relationships may come about organically through a chance meeting or via an introduction by a mutual friend. They may also be formal relationships such as apprenticeships or a condition for being accepted into a professional organization. To help you find an empowering mentoring relationship, here are a few suggestions that you might consider:
1. Clarity - Be clear about why you want a Mentor and your expectations from the relationship. 2. Compatibility - Your personality and communications styles should be conducive to developing a good working relationship. 3. Connection - A mentor should be someone who mirrors your own values, not just someone who has achieved the career stature that you’d like to achieve. 4. Collaboration – In all successful relationships, reciprocity is the recipe for prosperity. You should seek to contribute as much to the relationship as you expect to withdraw.
There are several different ways to find a Mastermind Group. For example, you can participate in your existing LinkedIn.com groups online or find face-to-face opportunities via Meetup.com. However, a very strategic way of finding the Mastermind Group that best suits you is to start it yourself. Some tips for starting a Mastermind Group are as follows:
1. Make a list of the ideal people that you would like to interact with, whether you know them or not. 2. Begin to invite them one by one to have coffee or a meal in an informal setting. 3. Then invite a few key people to an informal gathering at your home or other casual setting where you also discuss the formation of the Mastermind Group. 4. After gaining a commitment from your key people, and interest from other prospective members, arrange to have your first meeting.
Finding the right Mentor or joining the right Mastermind Group could lead to expanding your personal brand in ways that you couldn’t imagine. A Mentor can help you to expand your vision and avoid common pitfalls on the road to success. Membership in a dynamic and diverse Mastermind Group can expand your career horizons exponentially. Gaining access to either one or both could prove to be the best career decisions that you ever make.
Your resume is like a personal Operating Statement. Your Education section states what you’ve invested in your enterprise over time. Your Experience section shows the output that you have produced over time. Hopefully, when you present this statement to a potential prospect, it provides a clear picture of your overall career Net Worth.
It has probably been years since many of you have been asked for a resume. This is primarily because you have achieved a level of expertise and generated a word of mouth reputation that opens most doors. Yet at some point, you will ultimately be asked to produce a resume. This may be the case when pursuing some opportunity that requires verifiable documentation of credentials.
Yet in most cases, you will probably just be asked for a simple resume to document your professional accomplishments. If that is the case, you may make more of an impression by producing a compelling personal Bio instead. If your resume is a simple operating statement, then the Bio is a bottom line statement of the overall intrinsic and extrinsic value of your Personal Brand. A well written Bio differentiates you from the competition and positions you as an authority in your field.
Everybody loves a good story. More importantly, good personal or professional relationships are built upon people connecting with each other. There is probably no better way to get people to like you than to get them to connect with your story. Your resume enables a person to know something about you, but your bio compels them to get to know you.
One of the acknowledged experts on writing a Bio is Storytelling expert Michael Margolis the “Dean” of Story University www.getstoried.com According to Margolis, there are 3 questions all people want to know about you:
1. Do I share something in common with you? 2. How do we relate to each other? 3. Are you relevant to my success?
He insists that nowadays it's your Bio that people want to read first, not your resume. In order to make you Bio stand out, he claims that it must also answer the following 5 Questions:
1. Who am I? 2. How can I help you? 3. How did I get where I am? 4. Why can you trust me? 5. What do we share in common?
Personally, I have 4 different Bios for: Business; Leadership; Writing and Academics. While you may not need four bios (and I probably don’t either) these are 4 good categories to consider when constructing your Bio. The goal is to turn your list of accomplishments into a compelling narrative. You may do this by answering the following 4 questions
1. Why did you choose the school you attended and your discipline or major? 2. Why did you become a published writer and why do you write about these subjects? 3. Why did you choose to take positions of leadership in your industry or community? 4. Why did you choose your profession and why do you want to continue in the future?
By answering these questions and following the steps outlined previously, you should be able to create a very compelling narrative. Undertaking the exercise of writing your Bio should also provide you with some clarity and perspective about your past, present and future professional goals. Being able to tell your story is an essential component to building your personal brand. Writing your Bio should also enable you to assess how effectively you are presenting your Personal Brand and help direct the course of your future Personal Branding Strategy.
What comes to mind when you hear the words book store, post office, home phoneorpublic library? These entities used to be as fundamental to our way of life as air and water. Now physical books are being replaced by e-readers, letters in your mailbox have been cancelled out by e-mails in your inbox and the mobile-phone has diminished the combined necessity of the precision wristwatch, the digital camera, the pocket calculator and even the portable music player. Technological advancement and consumer demand are acting in unison to interject constant change into all aspects of our lives’.
Some people say that all change is good. Yet, that doesn't change the fact that sometimes it catches many people completely off guard. If you are unprepared for change you can become overwhelmed, anxious and even downright desperate. Change often happens in gradual recognizable steps, rather than rapid surges. Nevertheless, most of us tend to have change thrust upon us instead of being prepared.
The changes that I've already mentioned affect people not just as consumers, but also affect your current and future career decisions. Staying on top of changes and trends in your industry must become a vital concern, regardless of whether you’re a new-hire or a seasoned executive. In fact, knowing what’s going on in your industry can make the difference between whether you’re looking forward to receiving a big promotion or being abruptly laid off. A savvy, career-focused employee should put themselves in a position to recognize the signs well in advance.
For instance let's consider the future of the aforementioned public library. The internet has become most people’s principle research tool. The internet and e-books have replaced the need to sift through the card catalog or lug home a big heavy book. Furthermore, the coffee shop has become the preferred destination of those who wish to eat, drink and be merry while they read. They prefer this more social setting to being constantly reminded by the mean old librarian to shush. Yet in Birmingham, England they just recently constructed a new $300 million (£188m) library!
So what do they know that we don’t? Apparently, they know that regardless of changes in the future customers that they serve and the changing format of the product that they deliver; there is still a vital need for a free public space that educates people. The big question is determining what type of resources do they need to make available to their changing public? According to Brian Gambles, a project director at the new library in Birmingham, the library of the future must contribute to the surrounding community by actively being a “….part of a better economic future.…”. It can no longerjust be a place to sit and read a good book.
This type of proactive approach to embracing and understanding change is not just limited to progressive Brits. Here in Atlanta at the West End Branch of the public library system, Robert E. White a Library Associate, is embracing the change he saw taking place in his industry and responding to the needs of the surrounding community. Over the years, the library has incorporated special programming that suits the specific needs of the patrons that they serve. They provide offerings that range from sewing classes that cater to the local Senior communities, to Search Engine Optimization workshops that target aspiring entrepreneurs hoping to join the ranks of thriving West End businesses.
White was inspired by personal vision and professional necessity to enter a Master’s degree program in order to enhance his understanding of changes in his industry. He is now envisioning a plan to one day transform the library from a learning center into an empowerment institution. White believes that the Library will one day become a “....Regional Center for continuing education and economic empowerment that fills in the learning gaps for all types of education, career and business development needs...." This focus is indicative of the type of control and confidence that comes from having a proactive commitment to understanding the changes taking place in your industry.
In addition to earning a new advanced degree in your field like Mr. White, some other ways to keep up with changes in your industry are as follows:
1) Ask the Audience – Create a questionnaire or opinion poll that helps you gain information about how your industry is perceived by customers, co-workers, clients, etc.
2) Phone-a-Friend – Find an expert in your field or mentor that you can regularly communicate with about changes in your industry.
3) Final Answer – Once you have decided on a course of action, be decisive. Take action, whether it means looking for new opportunities in your current industry, or switching to a new career field altogether.
People often refer to the decline of the "Buggy Whip" industry, due to the emergence of the automobile, as a metaphor for companies being unresponsive to change. In actuality, few industries totally disappear. Yet all industries experience change and transformation. Understanding the changes taking place in your industry can be the key to building a career based on processing good information, instead being at the mercy of other people making moves.
When it comes to career and professional branding,LinkedInwww.linkedin.comis the most powerful tool available on the World Wide Web. It enables users to manage a well conceived and consistent on-linepersonal brandingstrategy. LinkedIn empowers them to control the dynamic content they share and the important people they share it with. Now LinkedIn has responded to the needs of savvy professionals who desire to add unique visual content to their profiles as well. This enables users to further distinguish themselves from their competition.
Standing out from the competition is the primary objective for achieving success with your branding strategy on LinkedIn. In the process of creating a powerful LinkedIn profile, most people simply strive for completeness and accuracy. They rely on effectively communicating their skills verbally. The only advantage comes from hopefully doing this better than the competition. Yet for a decision maker examining one after the other text heavy profiles, using the right words just may not be enough to grab their attention. Effective writing is certainly a powerful tool, but in many casesUsing Visual Content to Enhance Your LinkedIn Profile may be the best way to gain a leg up on the competition.
Visual content includes (but is not limited to) the following:
Of course with any successful branding strategy, you must take time to conceive and execute a plan that will produce your desired outcome. This strategy should achieve the dual goal of positioning you as a trusted expert and networking with the people you want to make aware of your expertise.
There are essentially 4 Keys to Creating a Successful Branding Strategy on LinkedIn:
1)Upload a Profile Photo that tells your Brand Story in one image 2) Complete your Powerful Profile page. 3)Strategically Build Your Network of Contacts. 4)Join the Right Groups.
When you complete the major sections of your LinkedIn profile (Summary, Experience and Education)you will now find a new symbol next to the word “Edit”. This symbol is also found beneath the individual entries in each section. This button enables you to “Click to add a video, image, document presentation….” It also allows you to “Add a Link” or “Upload a file”.
Some tips to consider when uploading visual content you should consider are to:
1) Only upload unique content that you have created 2) Only display your best work not the most work
Brand conscious professionals are using visual content to enable visitors to see the product of their labor rather than just a simple description of their work. For example an Artist or Chef may want to share a picture of their most eye-catching creations. On the other hand, an Anchorman or Public Speaker would greatly benefit from uploading a video of them commanding an audience rather than simply state that they are a dynamic orator.
Savvy professionals who use visual content effectively on LinkedIn will find it to be a “game changer” It is an essential tool for empowering their on-line branding strategy. Used effectively it will enhance your perceived expertise and the quality of the professional contacts that you attract.
To some people, Pinterestwww.pinterest.comis the most esoteric of the four majorSocial Networkingsites. Maybe esoteric is not the right word. What would be a better way to put it? Okay, some people just don’t get Pinterest at all.
On the other hand, according to www.ebizmba.coman estimated 85 million users absolutely love Pinterest. They have earned this position by surpassing upstart Google Plus and the pioneering MySpace. They have achieved this impressive milestone in just a little over 3 years of being in business. While avid users may love it, some may still wonder what is the point to all of this “Pinning”. Well rather than offer my personal opine on this point, let’s hear from the people at Pinterest about what it means to be a pinner.
Pinning, Re-Pinning and Liking
A “Pin” is simply an interesting image or video. According to the Pinterest powers that be, “Pinterest is a tool for collecting and organizing things you love.”These beloved pics and clips are collected, organized and shared onto “Boards”.
There are 3 ways to add a Pin to a Board:
1) You may upload a Pin from your computer 2) You may add a Pin from a website by copying and pasting a link 3) You may install the “Pin It” button to your browser to Pin directly from a website
Pinners access the Pinterest main page and scroll through pins that have been pinned by their “Friends” and onto boards that they follow. Pins are displayed chronologically as they are pinned. You may also perform keyword specific searches for pins. The way that you share pins of other users is by either “Re-pinning” them onto your boards or “Liking” them onto your page. There are two ways to expand the number of people that you share your pins with:
1) Finding your friends from other social networks who are on Pinterest. 2) Following the boards of other random Pinterest users.
Pins are then “Re-pinned” and/or “Liked” by other "Pinners" and vice-versa.
Now with all of that having been said, some people (including regular users) still have no idea how to use Pinterest effectively. However, for most people this is irrelevant. For most people Pinterest is just a place to look at pretty things. In my opinion this isn’t the worst thing in the world. However, if you do want to use it more strategically you must devise a plan. This plan should consist of the following 3 steps:
1) Strategically create boards that showcase your “Personal Brand Portfolio” 2) Strategically pin images and videos that best tell your “Personal Brand Story” 3) Strategically follow boards and pinners that Enhance your on-line “Personal Brand Network”
Showcasing Your Personal Brand Identity on Pinterest
Pinterest is an excellent way to display your professional portfolio and accomplishments. You can pin videos that you’ve created, covers of books that you’ve written or images of infographics and images that you’ve designed. You can pin them to Boards with straightforward names like “My Books” or give your boards eye-catching or though-provoking names that showcase your creativity. Some examples of other ways that you can use Pinterest as a personal branding tool are as follows:
1) Create a shareable online Brand Identity Package by pinning images of your logo, business card, brochure, etc. 2) Create a shareable On-line Resume. (You might do this by sharing an image of each school that you've attended and job that you’ve had, along with explanatory text for each pin in the “Description” field) 3) Create boards that tell your unique “Personal Brand Story” (The potential ways to use Pinterest to do this are unlimited)
Adding Friends and Liking Boards
If you choose to use Pinterest solely for the purpose of building your personal brand, you may want to be more selective about the friends that you add and boards that you follow. If you’re only adding pins and creating boards that tell your Personal Brand story, then you should try to be more selective than on other social networks. Much in the same way that you add connections on LinkedIn, you should try to share your pins with people that you are trying to build a professional relationship with.
The primary gateway for adding friends is via your existing FaceBook network. You already share images with those people on that platform. Therefore it would be more effective to select only some of these friends to be a part of your Pinterest network. It is worth mentioning that most people on Pinterest will just be sharing pictures of gourmet food, beautiful people and nice clothes. The good news is that you can still pin these images to the “Your Likes” page by clicking on the “Like” button found on each pin. So you can still participate in the social experience of Pinterest while working to promote and build your on-line Personal Brand Identity.
The Bard of Avon once famously alleged that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” Few would argue with William Shakespeare being considered as an authority on greatness. When it comes to being an authority on writing and books he usually gets the last word as well. Yet a prolific writer residing in the modern“A-Town” has attempted to best the Bard – at least on the subject of Greatness.
Atlanta based motivational author and entertainment impresario Germaine Moody - the self proclaimed“King of Networking”, has produced the most ambitious book ever on the subject of Greatness. In the book “50 Seeds of Greatness”www.50seedsofgreatness.comMoody addresses 50 vital topics that can empower readers to “....produce an abundance of whatever we desire, while also leaving a legacy of our presence on Earth." However what makes the book so remarkable is that he also amassed almost 400 Contributors from over 100 Countries around the world to take part in the project. This extraordinary accomplishment is currently being considered for inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest and most international publishing undertaking of all-time.
By writing this book, Mr. Moody has also come up with an ingenious way to expand his brand. This high-profile endeavor has enabled him to network with other movers and shakers around the world. The way that he accomplished this was by issuing an International call for authors to contribute their own thoughts about greatness to the book. Contributors from around the world were asked to answer the question "What does Greatness mean to me?" He presented this invitation primarily via LinkedIn. This enabled him to exponentially expand his network of professional contacts, while also creating an International marketing campaign for the book and acquiring high quality content for the project.
I was among the change agents and thought leaders who were asked to contribute their definition of greatness to the project. In addition to contributors from Atlanta and the United States, the book includes words of wisdom from as far away as Albania and Zambia. By showcasing a wide ranging group of contributors, it is insured that readers will be exposed to an unusually broad array of insight and wisdom.
Undertaking this project is clear evidence that Germaine Moody may very well be the King of Networking. He is a dedicated “networker” who believes that “....Networking is essential, no matter who you are, where you are and no matter what industry you work in....” Aspiring pretenders to his throne can definitely learn a lesson or 50 from the “King” On the subject of networking, Moody goes on to say that “People will always be your greatest assets and resources, in business and in life."
In keeping with his dedication to the business of networking, he has already moved on to his next equally ambitious publishing and networking project. His upcoming book "The Networking Bible" (due April 2014) reveals fundamental keys and secrets to networking. One of the most important strategies that he will cover in the new book is “Gaining access to your greatest influencers”. In addition to his publishing projects, Moody also operates a vast networking group dedicated to the Atlanta Entertainment Industry@ LinkedIn.com. It is clear that if you are a student of greatness, a practitioner of networking or you aspire to number yourself among the Atlanta entertainment industry elite, Germaine Moody – “The King of Networking” is a person you need to know.
It has been said thatPublic Speakingis the greatest fear of most people. This is very unfortunate, because public speaking is probably the ultimate tool that can be used to establish yourPersonal Brand. Actually, getting to the point where you are sought after to speak publicly signals that you have accomplished the ultimate goal ofPersonal Branding– achieving“Brand Leadership”. According towww.businessdictionary.comBrand Leadership is defined as becoming the“....Most widely....recognized product in a particular market segment....”The kids these days would call that being a“Boss”.
So what do you do if you are ready to take that step into the Public Speaking “arena”, but you have yet to conquer the fear? Well one strategy is to just find an audience and start speaking. Even if you could find the courage to do that, how do you find a willing audience if you have yet to become a sought after spokesperson? Since 1924 many aspiring orators have joinedToastmasters International as a resource to use for“….developing public speaking and leadership skills through practice and feedback in local clubs….”
Toastmasters succeeds in empowering speakers by providing them with constructive audience feedback in an environment of mutual encouragement. According to their website www.toastmasters.org“A Toastmasters meeting is a learn-by-doing workshop in which participants hone their speaking and leadership skills in a no-pressure atmosphere.” Over time, members progress towards the goal of becoming a “Competent Communicator” by:
1) Utilizing the constructive Feedback provided through peer Evaluations. 2) Confronting their fears by regularly making impromptu presentations. 3) Managing the various aspects of making effective presentations by Conducting Meetings. 4) Progressing through the self-paced “Competent Communication Manual”.
The Competent Communication Manual is the essential foundation of the Toastmasters program.
I recently visited a local Toastmasters Club in order to witness the process firsthand. I was invited to theCascade United Toastmasters Club by their newly elected Vice President of Membership, Ms. Alison Gibson. It was clear to me that the Toastmasters method was effective in helping members to manage their fear of public speaking and build their communication skills. The reasons why each individual joins Toastmasters are different. In Alison’s case, she proclaims that she wanted to among other things“....improve my listening skills....”
Joining a Toastmaster Club is a very straightforward process. There are essentially 3 Steps:
Step 1; Find/Visit a Club www.toastmasters.org/findaclub Step 2; Ask the Vice President of Membership for an application. Step 3; Return the completed application and dues to the VP of Membership.
There is a customary $20 New Members Fee, plus a $36 bi-annual International Dues payment. There may also be club dues, which vary from club to club.
Personally, I found the experience to be as advertised. I was even drafted into service to give feedback about different aspects of the meeting. For most people, the combination of immersion, participation, support and encouragement has proven to be an effective method for alleviating the fear of public speaking and acquiring the necessary skills to become a competent public communicator. Consistently engaging in this process should ultimately lead to gaining the tools needed to become an in-demand public presenter and cementing your Personal Brand Leadership.
In February of 2011, LinkedInwww.linkedin.comintroducedLinkedIn Skills www.linkedin.com/skillsLinkedIn Skills is a special section that enables users to showcase their"Skills & Expertise".In today's economy, the ability to communicate your skills and talents is more important than just merely listing your career positions and job duties - no matter how impressive they might be. As stated byPete Skomorochan official LinkedIn blogger,"....To succeed in the talent economy, it is crucial to showcase your skills and....the expertise you need to get the job done."
Just like any other enterprise, building your Personal Brand consists of identifying your product and service offerings. Your "Personal Product & Service Offerings" may be as simple as Meat Processing or as complex as Investment Banking. Whatever your skills and abilities may be, it is important that they accurately reflect what you have to offer. The salable skills and areas of expertise that you claim to have, they represent the personal goods and services that you have in inventory for sale to a potential consumer. Also, it is important that they be relevant to the type of opportunity that you are pursuing.
To access the Skills and Expertise section and add it you your profile, you must follow these steps:
1) Log in to yourLinkedIn Profile
2)Locate theRecommended for yousection on the right side of the screen and Add(+)the Skills & Expertisesection to your profile
4) Scroll down to the the Skills & Expertise section
As far as Endorsements are concerned, their usefulness is debatable. They may or may not have an impact on people who view your profile. In many cases, persons who endorse your skills may be familiar with you, but unfamiliar with your career aptitudes. However, the exercise of building your list of Skills & Expertise is primarily meant to help you to take a personal inventory. Gaining and utilizing endorsements is a secondary strategy.
In the upcoming series of articles that comprise the "Creating Your Personal Brand: A 12 Step Success Plan" series, we will discuss a comprehensive strategy for Evaluating Your Skills and Talents.In the meantime, making effective use of the "LinkedIn Skills" section is a powerful way to understand and promote your "Personal Product & Service Offerings". Building your list of "Skills & Expertise" will help you to understand what you have to offer to the world. It will also help viewers to synthesize the other content in your powerful LinkedIn profile.